How I Named My Baby: Brighton Dove
Carly Elias, a model and influencer, and John Paul Elias, a contractor, live in Fresno, California with their two children: Crew Merlin and Brighton Dove.
Their daughter Brighton was born on September 30, 2021. Below, we chat with Carly about how she and John Paul named their little girl.
Tell me Brighton’s name story!
I never thought I would have a girl. In my husband's family, there are nine boys among his siblings. Brighton's the first granddaughter for his parents. When we found out we were having a girl, we were shocked and so excited.
I've always had a list of girl names that I liked, but only five or six that I would want to use. For some reason, when I found out I was pregnant with the girl, I didn't like any of them. I just couldn't picture any of those names on her.
I had Brighton on maybe one of my longer lists. We’ve always liked the preppier style names.
I only knew of one Brighton growing up. I never put any thought into her name. And then I came across it again when I was pregnant with my Brighton. But it was her middle name that sealed the deal.
It just clicked. I texted my husband, “Brighton Dove is her name.” You know, he didn’t even question it.
My husband's been a bird guy his whole life. We’ve raised all kinds of animals over the years, especially mourning doves.
What were the other names on your list?
When I was pregnant with Crew, I thought his name would be Ever if he was a girl.
But when I was pregnant the second time, I thought Crew and Ever would be too similar since they both have four letters — I wouldn’t be able to branch out from that.
I still picture using Ever one day. I also loved Story. I like the whimsical names that also can come off as Ivy league style. Some of the other girl names on my list are Chandler, Baylor, Leighton, Locklyn, and Hayes.
I ended up finding an old notebook from high school and some of my same names were still on that list. I think Brighton was even on one of them. My style never really changed.
Did you think about boy names at all during this pregnancy?
I knew I was having a girl pretty early, so I didn't even really think about boy names this time.
When I had Crew, my husband and I had chosen his name ten years before. It got popular right before we had him, so I said I wasn’t going to use it! The last thing I wanted was a name that everybody was using. But the whole time I was pregnant with him, I looked and looked, and it was just stuck already.
How did people react when you revealed Brighton’s name?
Everyone loved it pretty much right away. I think my mom was surprised that I'd chosen something so early, at five months. She knew the list of names that I have always loved and was expecting one of those, but she loved Brighton.
Now we call her B more than anything. My son calls her Sissy or Sissy Boo.
How do you feel about your own name and how do you think that influenced your choice of baby names?
Growing up, I didn’t really like my name. I grew up with a lot of Ashleys and Brittanys and Heathers. I loved their names and I always thought Carly was a little too different.
Now that I'm older, I love it. My little sister's name is Kira, and as a combo, everyone always loves our names together.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
All of my kids’ cousins have C, K, or Br- names. They’ve got Kayla, Caleb, Kayden, Brayden, Bradley, Brent, Koda, and Kyler. I didn’t even realize that when I chose Crew, and then again with Brighton!
The other kids in our lives have pretty common names.
If you were having another baby today, what name would you choose?
I’d definitely do Ever for a girl. I love Theo for a boy, but that's become really common. My mom's grandfather's name was Theodore and his twin sister was RosaVelta. They called her Velta. I always thought that was funny.
If I had to pass down a name, I think it would've been Theo for Theodore. I don't know what else I would use! It's hard to say. You have to gauge what's going on in the world and what's trendy.
My mom's maiden name is Guthrie, so I've always thought that would be a cool middle name. Ramsdale is also a last name in my family. I've seen a lot of the trends in the ancestry charts where the woman would get married and then pass down her maiden name as the son's middle name. So my grandfather is, John Ramsdale Guthrie — Ramsdale was his mom's maiden name. If I had another boy, I would be open to using a previous last name as a middle name.
How would you describe your style beyond baby names?
Minimalist, laid-back, and casual. I like to be easygoing, but also adventurous and a little daring. I used to do fun stuff like skydiving!
Do the names Crew and Brighton represent your family identity?
When we were naming Crew, I would say to my husband, “Think back on your life, if your name was Crew, how would you have felt growing up? Do you think it would be something you'd be comfortable with, especially as you get older?” I thought Grandpa Crew sounded so cool. It has a nautical vibe.
With Brighton, I could picture living with that name and growing with it. It’s classic and can age with her.
How did you decorate Brighton’s nursery?
It's really girly with England vibes. Both of their names are like towns in England too, which I thought was kind of funny. Crew is a small town and Brighton is the beach town there.
I fell in love with the wallpaper in Brighton’s nursery when I was pregnant with her. I have an English grandma, and when I was growing up, her house was wallpapered with florals and pretty paper. Brighton’s got a lot of neutrals, some like soft pink, and vintage touches too — like one of the big, beautiful Anthropologie mirrors.
What was your favorite gift you received for Brighton?
My sister crocheted blankets for both of my kids. Kira got married on October 9th and Brighton was born September 30th. I was so lucky to be able to have a home birth, and I felt amazing immediately after and was able to travel and make it to my sister's wedding with Brighton, literally ten days old. That’s where Kira gave Brighton a blanket that she hand-crocheted. It was so precious.
I also have a bunch of my baby blankets that we passed down to her. And my mom kept a lot of my Polly Flinders baby dresses, so Brighton has some of those that I've put her in for certain occasions.
Is there anything you can’t live without, as a parent?
Well, we're pretty minimal on products. But we do love the sound machine. Now everyone sleeps better. The first time around, I had all the things — the Snoo, you know — but this time we’re not using as much.
I like the Baby Bjorn bouncer. That’s probably what we use the most. We still have one of the walkers, but Brighton doesn’t really zoom around too much in that like my son did. She just likes to be on the ground, crawling around.
I have one of the baby food makers, which is really cool. I used it with my son when he was a baby and I had all the time in the world. But with Brighton, I skipped all of that and went to baby-led weaning. She eats whatever I’m eating.
I do have a double stroller that I love now. Before, I had the Uppababy stroller, which was great to clip her car seat into. But my son never fit in the lower part where the toddler is supposed to go. It was nice getting a double stroller once she was able to sit up better on her own. It was night and day — so much lighter and it fits between in every doorway.
What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?
How it was very easy. Besides not finding anything for the first few months, once it clicked, it clicked. I didn't have to fight my husband on it.
The only names John Paul has ever told me he loves are Natalie and Ireland. I felt like Ireland Elias is a little much to say. And I grew up with maybe three Natalies. It was popular in the ‘90s. Luckily, John Paul trusts my style and totally agreed with Brighton.
What advice would you give to someone who's just starting the baby name process?
Definitely wait for that name that makes you feel right. It's very overwhelming to look through them all and there are so many that do catch your eye. But hold out for that one.
Carly's (and Brighton's) Favorite Things
Thank you so much, Carly!